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Publication numberUS3466598 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 9, 1969
Filing dateJul 15, 1966
Priority dateJul 15, 1966
Publication numberUS 3466598 A, US 3466598A, US-A-3466598, US3466598 A, US3466598A
InventorsEdward P Cheslock, Robert W Cruger, Wilcy I Moore, James J Murray
Original AssigneeBliss Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for programming traffic flow path routes
US 3466598 A
Abstract  available in
Images(15)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Sept. 9, 1969 R. w. CRUGER rm 3 6,

APPARATUS FOR PROGRAMMING TRAFFIC FLOW PATH ROUTES ori inal Filed May 20, 1966 15 Sheets-Sheet 1 NOE M. fl )7 8Y E 1.58 M%& B M VW 8 w Hlmwo cww m v w.P.M A E Hhu an. mwmmfl 3.61) REWM .||l ama a M E m Sept. 9, 1969 R. w. CRUGER ETAL 3,465,593

APPARATUS FOR PROGRAMMING TRAFFIC FLOW PATH ROUTES Original Filed May 20. 1966 15 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG. 5A

FIG. 5B

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APPARATUS FOR PROGRAMMING TRAFFIC FLOW PATH ROUTES 15 Sheets-Sheet c.

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BY Maya, 7M 8 Body ATTORNEYS Sept. 9, 1969 R. w. CRUGER ETAI- APPARATUS FOR PROGRAMMING TRAFFIC FLOW PATH ROUTES Original Filed May 20, 1966 15 Sheets-Sheet 10 FIG. I2E

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WILCY I. MOORE 8:

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APPARATUS FOR PROGRAMMING TRAFFIC FLOW PATH ROUTES l5 Sheets-Sheet 14 INTERSECTION ARM WEST PLANE DETECTED IN PLANE DETECTED OUT H ICWIZ B DLI {I I DLRO Icws DLRI- xcwII, cze

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R2 5 AST) FIG. I2I

WILCY I. MOORE 8. JAMES J. IvIuRRAY BY Meyajdfiwu; I2 8044 ATTOR N EYS United States Patent 3,466,598 APPARATUS FOR PROGRAMMING TRAFFIC FLOW PATH ROUTES Robert W. Cruger, Springfield, Edward P. Cheslock, Newton Square, Wilcy I. Moore, Folsom, and James J. Murray, Havertown, Pa., assignors to E. W. Bliss Company, Canton, Ohio, a corporation of Delaware Continuation of application Ser. No. 551,679, May 20, 1966. This application July 15, 1966, Ser. No. 565,462 Int. Cl. G08g 1/12, 1/07 US. Cl. 34023 27 Claims This is a continuing application of our application, Serial No. 551,679, filed May 20, 1966, now abandoned.

This invention pertains to the art of flow control and, more particularly, to rapid programming of a desired route to be followed by movable means, such as an aircraft, through a network of intersecting flow paths, such as an airports taxway and runway intersection network.

The invention is particularly applicable for directing aircraft ground trafiic through an airports network of intersecting runways and taxiways and will be described with particular reference thereto; although, it will be appreciated that the invention has broader aspects and may, for example, be used for directing automobiles through a network of intersecting automobile roadways.

Present day airports are frequently required to accommodate increasingly large volumes of aircraft traflic. Many airports include more than one runway and many taxiways leading from the airports terminal facilities to each runway. Frequently the runways and taxiways intersect, posing ground traflic control problems in directing aircraft safely through the intersections, particularly when large volumes of aircraft trafiic are being accommodated.

It is common practice at many airports to control aircraft ground trafiic by means of radio communications between an airport ground trafiic director at the airports control tower and the aircraft pilots. The volume of radio communication between the aircraft and the control tower is limited, since the radio communication is normally over a single radio frequency channel, whereby only one aircraft pilot can maintain communication with the ground traffic director at any one time. Thus, the radio channel quickly becomes saturated as trafiic volume increases, limiting the volume of aircraft ground traffic that can be safely routed through the airports network of intersecting runways and taxiways. During adverse weather conditions, such as hours of darkness and fog, there is a greater volume of radio communications between aircraft and the control tower for taxi and takeoff instructions, further limiting the volume of aircraft ground traffic that can be safely routed. Accordingly, ground traflic instructions must be communicated to aircraft pilots by means other than radio if airports are to accommodate increasingly larger volumes of aircaft trafiic.

Systems have been proposed for displaying aircraft movement and directional command signals to aircraft pilots by means of signal lights located adjacent to runway and taxiway intersections for directing aircraft to follow programmed routes. Such visual command systems are controlled by a trafiic director, at the control tower, who mechanically actuates selected push buttons and switches, which in turn energize the appropriate signal lights to display movement and direction visual command signals to an aircraft pilot. For a large airport having many complex runway and taxiway intersections, the required number of such mechanically actuated switches and push buttons would render such a system 3,466,598 Patented Sept. 9, 1969 ice extremely complex and, hence, difiicult to operate, resulting in a high chance for human programming error. Further, the programming time required for an operator to mentally determine the desired route and then select and actuate the required combination of push buttons and switches would be extensive for a complex runway and taxiway intersection network.

The foregoing disadvantages, and others, of previous radio and visual ground trafiic control communication systems have been overcome by the present invention wherein the ground traffic control director merely traces, by means of a stylus, a desired route on a graphical illustration of the runway and taxiway intersection network in order to communicate visual command signals to an aircraft pilot. The time required to enter a programmed route with the stylus is less than that required to communicate the same information by such previous radio or visual systems, and is more reliable than such systems as chances for human error are substantially eliminated.

In accordance with the present invention the system includes: a display panel graphically illustrating an actual flow path intersection network, such as an airport's runway and taxiway intersection network; an operators manually movable stylus for tracing a programmed route on the panels illustrated network, the programmed route being representative of the desired route to be followed by a movable means, such as an aircraft, through the actual network; stylus actuated means associated with the panels illustrated network; and, control means responsive to actuations of the stylus actuated means for controlling energization of intersection routing means, such as traffic signal lights, associated with the actual network for routing the movable means through the actual network in accordance with the programmed route.

Further in accordance with the present invention, the stylus takes the form of a magnet and the stylus actuated means takes the form of magnetic reed switches individually actuated by the magnetic field of the magnet as the magnet traces the programmed route.

In accordance with a more limited aspect of the invention, the system further includes: a panel illustration of at least one actual roadway intersection and two intersection arms extending from the intersection; at least two stylus actuated switches associated with each arm; and, a program control circuit which is responsive to the sequence of actuation of the swtiches for controlling energization of the intersection traflic signal lights for displaying visual command signals to vehicles.

In accordance with a still further aspect of the invention, the panels roadway intersection network is defined by a groove in the panels face, so that the groove serves as a guide to facilitate tracing movement of the stylus when a program is being entered.

Still further in accordance with the invention, a program erase switch is provided for erasing a previously entered program, if the erase switch is actuated after the termination of a predetermined timed interval from the entry of the previous program.

In accordance with a still further aspect of the invention, the display panel includes memory means, such as lamps, for displaying representations of an entered programmed route to the operator.

In accordance with a still further aspect of the invention, the display panel includes vehicle location and direction indicating means, such as lamps, for displaying to an operator the locations and directions of movement of vehicles on the actual network.

Still further in accordance with the invention, the display panel includes alarm indicating means, visual and or audible, for alerting the operator as to alarm conditions, such as erroneous programming of conflicting routes, or programming a route which conflicts with the existing movement of a vehicle through the network, or if a vehicle disobeys programmed command signals.

The primary object of the present invention is to provide means for facilitating airport ground traflic control.

Another object of the present invention is to minimize the volume of radio communication between an airports control tower and aircraft ground traffic, while increasing the airports capacity to accommodate increasingly greater volumes of aircraft traflic.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a ground traffic director with easily operable means for rapidly displaying visual command signals to an aircrafts pilot.

A still further object of the invention is to provide a ground traflic director with means for communicating visual ground traflic command signals to an aircraft pilot in less time than that required by radio communications.

A still further object of the invention is to provide a ground traffic director with means for displaying visual command signals to an aircraft pilot in less time and with greater reliability than with previously known visual display systems.

The foregoing and other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiment of the invention as read in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective view illustrating a display panel constructed in accordance with the invention;

FIGURE 2 is a plan view illustrating the face of the display panel;

FIGURE 3 is a sectional view of the display panel taken along line 33 in FIGURE 2 looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIGURE 4A is a sectional view of a detector light module;

FIGURE 4B is a plan view of the detector light module illustrated in FIGURE 4A;

FIGURE 5A is a sectional view of a program light module;

FIGURE 5B is a plan view of the program light module illustrated in FIGURE 5A;

FIGURE 6A is a sectional view of an alarm-intersection light module;

FIGURE 6B is a plan view of the alarm-intersection light module illustrated in FIGURE 6A;

FIGURE 7 is a sectional view of the display panel taken along line 77 in FIGURE 2 looking in the direction of the arrows;

FIGURE 8 is an illustration of an airports actual runway and taxiway intersection network;

FIGURE 9 is a front eelvational view of an intersection traflic signal;

FIGURE 10 is a rear elevational view of the tratfic signal illustrated in FIGURE 9;

FIGURE 11 is a funcional block diagram; and

FIGURES 12 to 12] is a single figure illustrating a schematic circuit diagram of the electrical control circuit.

Referring now to the drawings, wherein the showings are for the purpose of illustrating a preferred embodiment of the invention and not for purposes of limiting same, FIGURE 1, illustrates a display panel DP having a graphical representation on the panel face of an airports runway and taxiway intersection network, and a magnetic stylus S which, as will be described in greater detail hereinafter, is used by a traflic director for tracing a programmed route on the display panels network. The programmed route is representative of a desired route to be followed by an aircraft through the airports actual runway and taxiway intersection network, illustrated in FIG- URE 8.

4 DISPLAY PAN EL The display panel DP graphically illustrates the airports actual taxiway and runway intersection network, including two typical intersections B and C, located as shown in FIGURE 2 with respect to north, south, west and east directions. Each intersection has a plurality of intersection arms extending outwardly from the intersection. Intersection C has north, south, east and west intersection arms and intersection B has a west intersection arm interconnecting with the east intersection arm of intersection C, an east intersection arm and a southwest intersection arm. These intersections and intersection arms correspond with the actual intersections and intersection arms shown in FIGURE 8.

An aircraft detector light module DL for each intersection arm is located in the panel arm adjacent a panel inter section. As will be described in greater detail hereinafter with respect to FIGURES 4A and 4B, each aircraft detector light module DL includes two portions, detector light in DLI and detector light out DLO. Detector light in DLI serves, when energized, to indicate to the traflic director that an aircraft has been detected on the actual intersection arm (FIGURE 8) and is heading toward the intersection. Similarly, detector light out DLO represents, when energized, that an aircraft has been detected on the actual intersection arm (FIGURE 8) and is heading away from the intersection.

A program light module PL is associated with each intersection arm and located in the panel intersection adjacent its associated arm. As will be described in greater detail hereinafter with respect to FIGURES 5A and 5B, each program light PL includes two portions, a program light enter portion PLB and a program light leave portion PLL. Program light portion PLE serves, when energized, to visually remind the traffic director that a program has been entered for a vehicle to enter the actual intersection from the associated intersection arm. Similarly, program light portion PLL serves, when energized, to visually remind the traffic director that a program has been entered for an aircraft to leave the actual intersection and proceed into the associated intersection arm.

At the center of each panel intersection there is provided a composite alarm-intersection light module AL DLC, described in greater detail hereinafter with reference to FIGURES 6A and 6B. The intersection light DLC serves, when energized, to visually indicate to the traflic director that the actual intersection, see FIGURE 8, is occupied by an aircraft. The alarm light AL serves, when energized, to alert the traflic director by flashing on and off that an alarm condition exists, as will be discussed in greater detail hereinafter.

Each panel intersection arm is provided with two magnetic reed program switches PS1 and PS2, with the former being spaced further from the associated intersection than the latter, as illustrated in FIGURE 2. In addition, each panel intersection arm includes a magnetic reed program erase switch PES located at a point spaced further from the associated intersection than switch PS1. Spaced still further from the intersection than switch PBS, and located at a point spaced transversely from the intersection arm, there is provided a magnetic reed detector erase switch DES.

As illustrated in FIGURES 3 and 7, the display panel DP preferably takes the form in cross-section of three sandwiched plastic sheets, including a top sheet 300-, an intermediate sheet 302 and a bottom sheet 304. The top sheet 300 is preferably sandblasted and opaque and has a cut out portion defining a groove 306. The groove 306, in turn, defines the panels runway and taxiway intersection network, as is best shown in FIGURE 2. As shown in FIGURE 7, groove 306 also serves as a guide for the passage of the magnetic stylus S as the traffic director traces the stylus through the panels runway and taxiway intersection network. Groove 306 is particularly advantageous for facilitating movement of the stylus S when tracing turn routes, for example, a turn route from the west arm to the south arm of intersection C, illustrated in FIGURE 2, as opposed to tracing a straight ahead route.

The program light module PL, detector light module DL and magnetic reed switches PS1, PS2, PBS and DES for each intersection arm are preferably mounted on a printed circuit board and secured in corresponding cut out portions to bottom sheet 304 so that the modules are located directly beneath groove 306, and that the magnetic reed switches PS1, PS2 and PBS are located directly beneath groove 306 and positioned as indicated in FIGURES 2 and 7. The detector erase switch DES is also located beneath sheet 302 but is spaced transversely away from groove 306, as illustrated in FIGURE 2. Each composite alarm-intersection light module AL-DLC is also mounted beneath sheet 302 directly beneath the center of a panel intersection, as illustrated in FIGURE 2.

The intermediate sheet 302 is translucent so that light from light modules PL, DL and composite light module AL-DLC may be transmitted upwardly through the sheet. Preferably, sheet 302 exhibits a light transmission characteristic on the order of 70% to permit observation of light from the light modules, while prohibiting observation of the magnetic reed switches PES, PS1 and PS2.

Whereas in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention there is provided a magnetic stylus S and stylus actuated magnetic reed switches PES, PS1, PS2 and DES, the invention is not limited to same. Thus, for example, the stylus may be nonmagnetic and the switches may be pressure sensitive, heat sensitive, light sensitive, capacitive sensitive or sound sensitive. The magnetic reed switches PES, PS1, PS2 and DES may take the form such as that illustrated in FIGURE 7, wherein switch PES is shown as normally open switch having a stationary contact arm 308 carrying an electrical contact 310 at a free end thereof and a movable contact arm 312 carrying an electrical contact 314 of magnetic material at a free end thereof. Contact arm 312 is resiliently biased so that contact 314 is normally spaced both mechanically and electrically from contact 310. The contacts are enclosed by a glass envelope 316, to protect the contacts from damage and dust conditions. Envelope 316 is mounted so that contacts 310 and 314 are located directly beneath groove 306 with contact 310 being located closer to sheet 302 than is contact 314. In this manner, as stylus S traces a programmed route thorugh groove 306 the magnetic field of the stylus attracts the magnetic material of contact 314, so that contact 314 mechanically and electrically engages contact 310, closing switch PES. Magnetic reed switches PS1 and PS2 are mounted in the same manner as is switch PES. Detector erase switch DES, however, is mounted at a point spaced transversely away from groove 306, as shown in FIGURE 2, so that it is not actuated by a stylus S tracing a programmed route through groove 306. Instead, switch DES must be actuated by removing the stylus from groove 306 and placing the stylus on the top surface of sheet 300 immediately above switch DES, for purposes as will be explained in greater detail hereinafter.

The magnetic switches are preferably mounted as close together as possible to reduce the size of the display panel, but the switches must be spaced apart by a sufficient distance that only one switch is actuated by stylus S at any one time. If desired, the magnetic reed siwtches may be mounted in a vertical plane, as opopsed to the horizontal plane illustrated in FIGURE 7, to further reduce the size of the display panel.

LIGHT MODULES Referring now to FIGURES 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B, 6A and 6B, there is illustrated the constructional details of the light modules illustrated in FIGURE 2. These light modules are described and claimed in Edward P. Cheslocks United States patent application Serial No. 551,308, filed 6 May 19, 1966, now Patent No. 3,419,713, assigned to the same assignee of the present invention.

Each light module includes two or three miniature, low voltage electric light bulbs 318, preferably embdeded in a dyed, high temperature, resistant polyester 320 and encapsulated by an aluminum sleeve 322. The aluminum sleeve acts as a heat sink to dissipate heat generated by the bulbs.

Each detector light module DL, FIGURES 4A and 4B, includes a divider 324 extending for a length equal to that of sleeve 322 and separating the sleeve into two compartments 326 and 328, each filled with polyester 320. The polyester 320 in compartments 326 and 328 is preferably dyed yellow so that a yellow signal light is transmitted through the polyester when bulbs 318 are energized. The upper surface 330 of detector light module BL is roughened for a diffusing effect and masked to provide two signal light portions DLI and DLO, each having a distinct direction configuration in the form of a triangular shaped arrowhead as shown in FIGURE 43. Light portions DLI and DLO are oriented back to back so that the point, i.e., the 90 apex, of each arrowhead points in an opposite direction from that of the other arrowhead.

Each program light module PL, FIGURES 5A and 5B, includes a divider 332 extending for a length equal to that of sleeve 322 and separating the sleeve into two compartments 334 and 336, each filled with polyester 320. Polyester 320 in compartments 334 and 336 is preferably dyed green so that a green signal light is transmitted through the polyester when bulbs 318 are energized. The upper surface 338 of program light module PL is roughened for a diffusing effect and masked to provide two signal light portions PLL and PLI, each having a distinct configuration. As shown in FIGURE 5B, light portion PLL has an arrowhead configuration similar to that of light portions DLI and DLO, illustrated in FIGURE 43, and light portion PLE has a rectangular bar-like configuration forming a tail for the arrowhead light portion PLL.

Each alarm-intersection light moduleAL-DLC, FIG- URES 6A and 6B, is constructed similar to the detector and program light modules, but includes a short divider 340 which does not extend for the length of sleeve 322. Divider 340- defines two short compartments 342 and 344,

- which in turn respectively define alarm light portion AL and intersection light portion DLC. Compartment 342 is filled with red dyed polyester and compartment 344 is filled with yellow dyed polyester, and the remaining portion of the sleeve is filled with clear, diffusing polyester. The top surface 346 of the module is abraded or roughened, but is not masked as in the case of the detector and program light modules, so as to provide a circular configuration, as shown in FIGURE 6B. With this construction, light transmitted from bulbs 318 inthe alarm light portion AL and intersection light portion DLC may be tinted by the dyed polyester in compartments 342 and 344 and then be ditfused through the clear polyester and displayed over the entire abraded surface 346 of the light module.

AIRCRAFT DETECTORS Referring now to FIGURE 8, there is schematically illustrated the actual runway and taxiway intersection network, which is graphically represented on the display panel DP illustrated in FIGURES l and 2, and, accordingup, like character references and like legend are used in FIGURE 8 for identifying like intersections and like intersection arms. Aircraft detectors LD are provided for detecting the presence of aircraft in each intersection arm. Preferably, detectors LD take the form of loop detectors which normally comprise a loop, or loops, of current carrying conductors buried below a roadway surface. The loop configuration of each loop detector LD defines a detection area so that as a vehicle, such as an aircraft, enters the detection area, an electrical disturbance occurs in the loop conductor. This disturbance is utilized to close a set of relay contacts which remain closed so long as a vehicle is in the detection area. The invention, however, is not limited to the use of loop detectors. Preferably, however, the detectors take the form of area sensitive presence detectors, such as loop detectors or ultrasonic detectors, but may take other forms, such as spot detectors in the form of treadle pads.

As illustrated in FIGURE 8, two loop detectors LD are provided for each intersection arm, with one loop detector being located at a first detector station D51 and a second loop detector located at a second detector station DS2. Preferably, detector station D52 is located adjacent an intersection. Detector station D81 is spaced further from the intersection than is station DS2 so that as an aircraft approaches an intersection it is first detected at station D51 and then at station DSZ. A pair of aircraft traffic signals BB are located on opposite sides of each intersection arm. Preferably, as illustrated in FIGURE 8, signals BB are located with respect to detector stations D81 and D52 so that the signals for an intersection arm are visible to a pilot in an aircraft located at station DSl but not visible to the pilot when the aircraft reaches station DS2.

AIRCRAFT TRAFFIC SIGNALS The aircraft traffic signals BB, shown best in FIGURES 9 and 10, are described and claimed in Edward P. Cheslocks United States patent application, Serial No. 551,260, filed May 19, 1966, assigned to the same assignee as the present invention. Each traffic signal BB has a front diamond shaped face 348, as shown in the elevational view in FIGURE 9, and a rear diamond shaped face 350, as shown in the elevational view in FIGURE 10. As illustrated in FIGURE 9, the front face 348 of each signal BB includes four signal lenses 352, 354, 356 and 353, each of which preferably is a triangular quadrant of a square, with the 90 apex of each lens located at the center of the signal face. Yellow lamps BBLA, BBLB, BBLC and BBLD are located within the signal BB immediately behind lenses 352, 354, 356 and 358, respectively. A red lamp BBLS is also located behind each lens. Lenses 352, 354, 356 and 358 may be transparent, with the background within the signal BB being black so that when none of the lamps is energized a black diamond shaped configuration is presented by signal face 348. When one of the yellow lamps is energized to illuminate one of the triangular shaped lenses, the 90 apex of that lens provides a visual directional command signal to an aircraft pilot. Thus, for example, when lamp BBLD, behind lens 358, is energized, the 90 apex of that lens indicates to an aircraft pilot that the aircraft should proceed into an intersection and make a half right turn. A full right turn is indicated by energization of lamps BBLB and BBLC behind lenses 354 and 356, respectively, so that the 90 apex of the triangle defined by the two lenses provides a visual directional command signal for an aircraft pilot to make a full right turn. Similarly, when lamps BBLA and BBLD are energized an aircraft pilot is presented with a visual command signal to make a full left turn when entering an intersection. Also, as is now evident, when both lamps BBLA and BBLB are energized an aircraft pilot is presented with a visual directional command signal to proceed straight through an intersection. Lamps BBLA, BBLB, BBLC and BBLD are selectively energized in accordance with a program entered by an airport ground traffic director, as will be described in greater detail hereinafter. All lamps BBLS are energized at the same time to provide a red diamond shaped visual command signal representative that an aircraft pilot is to stop and not proceed into an intersection until a yellow directional signal is displayed.

The rear side 350 of each traffic signal BB faces an intersection and includes a large triangular lens 360, which preferably takes the form of one-half of a square with its apex pointed in an upward direction. Behind lens 360 there is provided at least one yellow pull through lamp BBLR. Due to the large lens surface area it may be desirable to provide two lamps BBLR, as shown in FIGURE 10. Since the rear side 350 of traffic signal BB faces an aircraft located in an intersection, the energization of lamps BBLR serves to provide a yellow visual command signal to an aircraft pilot representative that the aircraft should pull through the intersection, i.e., proceed through the intersection, into the intersection arm at which the pull through signal lamps BBLR are energized. The lower half 362 of the rear side 350 of each traflic signal BB is preferably colored black so that when lamps BBLR are energized only the upper lens 360 transmits a visual command signal to an aircraft pilot.

SYSTEM INTERCONNECTIONS Referring now to FIGURE 11, there is shown a block diagram of the systems functional and electrical interconnections. The display panel DP, best shown in FIG- URES l and 2, is electrically connected with a control console CC which includes the electrical control circuitry, described in greater detail hereinafter with reference to FIGURE 12. The control console CC is electrically connected with the trafiic signals BB, best shown in FIGURES 8, 9 and 10. The detector stations D51 and DS2, best shown in FIGURE 8, are electrically connected to the control console CC for relaying output signals representative of an aircrafts location on the actual network. The control console CC has a first electrical feedback alarm path connected with the display panel DP for energizing alarm lamps AL, as well as an audible alarm buzzer AB, discussed in greater detail hereinafter with reference to FIG- URE 12. The control console CC also includes a second electrical feedback path connected to the display panel for purposes of energizing program lamps PL, detector lamps DL and intersection lamps DLC.

GENERAL OPERATION For purposes of simplifying the understanding of the present invention, the following is a general description of operation given with reference to FIGURES 1 through 11. A more detailed description of operation is given hereinafter with reference to the logic control and switching circuitry illustrated in FIGURE 12.

Referring now to FIGURE 8, there is illustrated a four arm intersection C having north, east, south and west intersection arms. As an aircraft approaches the intersection from the West arm, it first crosses loop detector LD associated with detector station D51. This energizes directional lamp DLI in the control panels west arm (see FIGURE 2), indicating to a traflic director that an aircraft has been detected in the west arm and is proceeding in an easterly direction toward intersection C. The trafiic director may enter a programmed route for the aircraft to proceed through intersection C by tracing a route with stylus S on the display panel DP, illustrated in FIGURE 2, from, for example, the west arm through the intersection C and thence in a southward direction through the south arm. The stylus S sequentially actuates program switches PES, PS1 and PS2 in the west arm and then sequentially actuates switches PS2, PS1 and PES in the south arm. Actuation of these switches results in various program lights being energized; namely, program tail light PLE associated with the west arm indicating that an aircraft may enter the intersection from the west arm, and program lights PLE and PLL of the light module associated with the south arm indicating that aircraft may proceed from the intersection C into the south arm. Thus, the energization of these lights serve as a memory for the trafiic director as to the program entered. In addition, the actuation of these program switches energizes lamps BBLB and BBLC (see FIGURE 9) of the front face 348 of the tratlic signals BB associated with the west arm, which provides visual directional command signals for the aircraft to enter the intersection C and make a full right turn. Actuation of the program switches in the south arm of the control panel energizes lamps BBLR on the rear side 350 of the traflic signals BB associated with the south arm, presenting visual directional command signals for the aircraft to pull through intersection C and proceed from the intersection into the sourth arm.

The aircraft proceeds into the intersection C actuating loop detector LD associated with detector station DS2 of the west arm. This de-energizes detector light DLI in the west arm of the display panel and energizes the intersection light DLC in the display panel at intersection C, indicating to the traffic director that the aircraft has left the west arm and is now present in the intersection.

As the aircraft proceeds into the south arm it crosses loop detector LD associated with detector station DS2 in the sourth arm. This de-energizes the intersection light DLC and energizes detector light DLO associated with the south arm on the display panel, representing to the traffic director that the aircraft has left the intersection and is proceding into the south arm. At this point, the aircraft has proceeded exactly as instructed by the route programmed by the traffic director. If the aircraft proceeded into intersection C, as commanded by the programmed route, and continued straight ahead into the east intersection arm actuating detector station DS2 associated with the east arm, audible alarm buzzer BR is energized to alert the traffic director as to the aircrafts noncompliance with the programmed route. In addition to the audible alarm, alarm lamp AL at the center of intersection C on the display panel is energized and alternately flashes on and off with a red signal indicating the location of the alarm condition. In addition to the. audible and visual alarm, all directional yellow lamps are extinguished and red lamps BBLS (see FIGURE 9) in all traffic signals BB located at intersection C are energized until the noncompliance situation is remedied, as by radio communication with the aircrafts pilot, and the traffic director has reset the alarm.

The traific director may change the programmed route by rerouting stylus S through the display panels illustrated network. In the event that the trafiic director desires to erase the entire program, leavingthe intersection with all stop lights, i.e., energization of all red lamps BBLS, this may be accomplished by actuating a program erase switch PBS with the magnetic stylus S. Program switches PS1 and PS2 of each intersection arm in the display panel serve, by means of control logic circuitry, to interpret the direction traced by stylus S and energize the appropriate display panel presence lights PL and the appropriate intersection trafiic signals BB. Thus, for example, if program switch PS1 is actuated before program switch PS2, the control logic circuitry enters a program representative that an aircraft is to enter an intersection from the arm associated with these program switches. Conversely, if program switch PS2 is actuated before program switch PS1 is actuated, a program is entered for an aircraft to leave the intersection through the arm associated with these program switches. The fourth magnetic reed switch DES associated with each arm, but spaced transversely away from groove 306, serves as a detector erase switch so that, when armed, it is capable of de-energizing an aircraft presence light DLI or DLO associated with that intersection arm on the display panel. Thus, for example, if aircraft presence light DLI in the south arm is energized and no aircraft is present in the area of influence of loop detector LD at detector station DS1 in the south arm of the actual network, the traffic director may extinguish this false indication by actuating the detector erase switch DES associated with the display panels south arm. The detector erase switch DES must be armed, as will be described in greater detail hereinafter with reference to FIGURE 12, by first actuating a detector reset 10 switch so that a true presence signal indication is not erased inadvertently.

The display panels alarm lamp AL is energized to provide a flashing red signal whenever a programming error occurs and no aircraft is involved. Such a situation occurs, for example, when a program is entered at intersection C directing an aircraft to intersection B while at the same time a program already exists at intersection B directing another aircraft toward intersection C. The reason for the visual alarm only in such a situation, is that this condi tion exists quite frequently when the trafiic director programs a completely new route. A second type of alarm provided by the invention is both a visual and audible alarm. That is, alarm buzzer AB, FIGURE 12, is energized at the same time that alarm lamp AL is flashing a red signal at the center of the intersection, or intersections, involved. The audible part of this alarm is actuated whenever an aircraft is involved. The following conditions actuate this alarm:

(1) When an aircraft runs a red light, that if, if an aircraft crosses the loop detector at detector station D-S2 on its approach to an intersection when the trafiic signal BB for the associated intersection arm is displaying a red signal, indicating a stop command.

(2) If a wrong turn is executed, that is, if an aircraft is given a directional command by a traffic signal BB and then enters the intersection but proceeds to leave the intersection in any direction other than the one to which the aircraft has been programmed.

(3) If a program is entered by the traffic director which would create a potential collision with a detected aircraft approaching the intersection in question; for example, if a program is entered for the west arm of the intersection for an aircraft to proceed to the south arm and an air-craft is already present in the south arm approaching the intersection.

(4) If a program is entered by the traffic director that would create a potential collision, thus, for example, if the traffic director enters a program for an aircraft to proceed from the west arm through the intersection and then to the south arm, and at the same time an aircraft from an interconnecting intersection is detected as leaving the connecting intersection in a northerly direction through the south arm of the programmed intersection.

Under any alarm situation; that is, whenever flashing red signal light lamp AL is energized, the appropriate traffic signals BB display all red signals at the intersection or intersections involved, stopping traffic flow. The program lights at the display panel, however, remain energized to assist the traffic director in determining the cause for the alarm. After the alarm situation has been remedied, the traffic director resets the alarm by means of a separate manual alarm reset switch. Once the alarms have been reset, a program may be re-entered on the intersection trafiic signals BB. The manual alarm reset feature serves as an additional check on both the system and the traflic director to insure that the alarm situation has been corrected before authorization is given to an aircraft to proceed through the intersection in question.

The system also includes a priority circuit which serves to provide a clearance signal condition for active runways in the event that taxiways, or other active runways, cross the active runway in question. The priority circuit energizes all the traffic signals BB to display stop, i.e., red, signals for the cross traffic to the active runway in question. This circuit also energizes the active runway traffic signals to display a yellow, i.e., go, signal when the runway is clear for use.

CONTROL CIRCUITRY Referring now to FIGURES 12 through 12J, which comprises a single figure, there is schematically illustrated the electrical control circuitry for accomplishing the functions desribed hereinbefore. As will be appreciated, the circuitry takes the form of logic and switching circuits in-

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2371749 *Jul 28, 1942Mar 20, 1945Gen Railway Signal CoAirplane traffic controlling system
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4398171 *Feb 23, 1981Aug 9, 1983Dahan Pierre LouisVideo system for plotting and transmitting video traffic information
US4409583 *May 21, 1981Oct 11, 1983Dahan Pierre LouisVideo system for assisting automobile traffic employing a segmented LCD display
US5214428 *Sep 18, 1991May 25, 1993Gregory AllenData input grid for computer
Classifications
U.S. Classification340/990, 345/179, 340/941, 340/909, 340/915, 340/933, 340/4.6
International ClassificationG08G5/06
Cooperative ClassificationG08G5/0013, G08G5/0026, G08G5/065
European ClassificationG08G5/06E, G08G5/00A4, G08G5/00B4